32 personas murieron por incendios en Chicago durante 2005

Robert Herguth, The Chicago Sun-Times
The number of Chicago fire deaths — on the decline since 1977 when nearly 200 were recorded — hit a modern-day record low in 2005, when 32 people were killed, officials disclosed Monday.
The previous record low was in 2004, when there were 36 deaths from Chicago fires, figures show.
«The numbers have been steadily decreasing,» said Deputy District Chief Joe Roccasalva, who oversees fire awareness and public education for the Chicago Fire Department.
He attributed the steady drop to several things, including increased education on how to prevent and survive fires, and «increased engineering, with fire codes and people getting smoke detectors.»
He also said the department has «better fire equipment and response times.»
Most fire-related fatalities occur during the cold-weather months of December, January, February and March. Last January saw the most fire deaths — seven — of any other month in 2005, records show.
The winter fires often involve space heaters and candles; the summer ones often involve careless use of smoking, Roccasalva said.
Fire deaths can involve burns and smoke inhalation, among other things.
Roccasalva offers this advice to push the fatality numbers even lower: «Get a smoke detector and make sure the battery works.»
People too often have a smoke detector but take the battery out to fuel a kid’s toy, for example, or they take out the battery while cooking and never replace it, he said.
Batteries should be checked once a month and replaced twice a year, he said. Families also should perform home-escape drills so they know how to get out of the house if a fire breaks out, he said.
The fire department gave away around 20,000 smoke detectors in 2005.
Figures on the total number of fires in Chicago were not immediately available.

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